Comment history

Bill introduced to abolish death penalty in Kansas

I'm appalled by the bloodthirstiness I see here:
"Bullet to the back of the head!"
"Drop safes on people!"
"Popping champagne corks"
"The Russians/Nazis/Chinese had the right idea!" (WTF?)

You people scare the sh*t out of me. It's one thing if a person is so violent, dangerous, irredeemable, that we need to put them down. A practical task, like putting down a rabid dog, something you do without emotion and then get on with your life.

Instead everything about the way we do it is f*cked up.
1) it's inconsistently applied. Thousands of people are murdered every year, hundreds of defendants are convicted of murder, but only a handful are sentenced to death. While we like to think that only the most heinous murders are punished with death, in reality the death sentence has more to do with class and race. If you're poor, you're far more likely to get the death penalty than a rich person will get for the same crime. And God only help you if you're poor AND black and the victim was white. Blacks are four times more likely to get the death penalty for murdering a white person than a black person, despite murdering about four times as many blacks as whites.

2) There's far too many false convictions. 15 people who have been sentenced to death have later been exonerated by DNA evidence. That may not sound like a lot, but then you have to realize that DNA evidence is only rarely available -- god only knows how many more innocent people are on Death Row who weren't lucky enough to have recoverable DNA evidence from the crime scene. 2 people I know of off-hand have been killed despite exculpatory evidence. Can you imagine being on a jury and voting for the death penalty and then finding out afterwards that the person you voted to kill was innocent? If you have a soul, that should crush it.

3) We glorify/sanitize it way too much. From the "last meal" ceremony, to the other bullsh*t, it's just this weird sick ritual we go through. I'm convinced half the people in this thread won't be happy until we get back to the traditional values of holding public hangings you can take the whole family to see. And I'm not sure that would be a bad thing. If execution is only real to you as something you read about in the paper or the movie cuts away from, it's probably a lot easier to vote for it. I think that the jury that votes for the death penalty should be required to witness the execution. At the very least, it might make them realize this isn't an abstract practical exercise, but a real person you are really voting to really kill.

Despite all this, I'm not 100% against the death penalty in all cases. If there is a truly heinous crime, and you are absolutely certain there is no chance the person could be innocent, I'm okay with society executing the irredeemably evil. Until then, quit acting so damn excited about it - that really does scare me about you people.

March 9, 2013 at 9:12 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Local government employees racked up more than $3 million in overtime in 2012

Taken by themselves, the numbers grab headlines,but they don't tell us much. $20,000 sounds like a lot of money, but it probably represents an extra thousand hours or more that the employee worked that year.

So in that respect, it's generally cheaper to pay that OT than hiring another employee to work those thousand hours. The better question to ask (which doesn't grab as many headlines) is whether or not those OT expenses are justified. Was that individual, or their skill set really needed? Do we need to increase staffing at the police/fire department? What safeguards are in place to assure that no one is "milking" the system?

I know there are some who won't be happy until public employees are required to work unlimited hours for minimum wage. But for the rest of us, I think we should be more focused on finding out what factors led to OT costs in 2012 being one sixth above the average for the last few years than a specific employee's specific numbers.

February 24, 2013 at 9:15 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

District orders changes to 8th grade slavery lesson

Fair warning, I'm a white dude, so not exactly the most informed to comment on the issue. BUT:

It's all well and good to learn that 3.5 million slaves worked on Alabama plantations in 1845. Memorize the crap out of that number, ace the quiz and BAM! Learning!

Right? Wrong. There is a WORLD of difference between knowing the path and walking the path. As Stalin said, "One death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic." Sounds like Mr. Wormsley is doing his best to turn dry statistics into raw tragedy, in a responsible and respectful way.

That's a damn good educator. Especially because he has to know that he's playing with fire. He could just hand out some worksheets, pass out a multiple choice test, and go home to his family. But he's willing to risk a lot professionally because he has a passion for inspiring young minds.

I've never met the man, bu I'm impressed. What he's doing, in 21st century takes brass ones. Especially when he's not doing it for fame or money. He's doing it because he wants to make sure the kids in his care actually learn and see for themselves how horrific the idea of treating other humans as property actually is. In a world of Jersey Shore Teen Moms, he's doing his best to keep the flame of reason alive.

Like I said, I've never met the man, but I'd be proud to shake his hand and buy him a beer.

February 19, 2013 at 2:13 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

District orders changes to 8th grade slavery lesson

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

February 19, 2013 at 1:55 p.m. ( )

Democrats propose initiatives, criticize bills opposed by unions

What's funny is that as a right-to-work state, in Kansas, union membership is no more compulsory than buying Girl Scout cookies.

I know the professional anti-government brigade knows this, but it serves their purposes to pretend otherwise. I'm not sure whether the Kansas legislators are in on the gag, or they're just as duped as many I'd the posts above seem to be.

February 12, 2013 at 4:11 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Supporters of new abortion bill say KU working to solve issue

So does that mean any fetus CONCEiVED in the United States is automatically a citizen?

Man, I can't wait for the "anchor fetus" debate to start.

February 9, 2013 at 2:05 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Bill to be heard restricting union activities in political campaigns

Translation: I don't care about the facts, or human rights, as long as my side wins.

January 26, 2013 at 10:57 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Fritzel breaks silence on proposed Rock Chalk Park deal, says he won't profit from the KU sports complex

Wow... just wow. Sometimes it's better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a shady good-old-boy, than to open your mouth and prove it!

Sure, you're only doing this out of your love for the community, and you won't make a dime off it. Say, in that case, why not give up on this controversial plan, and instead build the cops the new headquarters they need. You know, out your selfless desire to improve your beloved community?

If Mr. Fritzel really wasn't planning on profiting on this operation, he could have set up Bliss Sports as a not-for-profit organization and saved a ton of money in taxes.

If he wasn't gonna make money off it...

January 19, 2013 at 7:24 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Kansas Chamber to seek pensions debate

Yeah, they did. But these guys don't care about the state's budget. They think they can build their little fiefdoms and "Go Galt" and the rest of us will just keep the lights on for them. The real moochers in this country wear suits & ties.

But you want to know why a group of private industry big-wigs really cares so much about the pensions of public employees? Because those employees are the last living proof of how good ALL workers used to have things. They've been pretty successful, so far, at dividing and conquering by stirring up resentment between different groups of workers. But they're terrified that any day now all the private sector employees will stop thinking "Why should THEY get what I don't have?" and begin to think, "Why shouldn't I get what they have?"

Terrifying. Best kill it for good while you can.

December 22, 2012 at 12:19 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Amyx asks City Commission to weigh recreation center against other city priorities, projects

5) Finally, if we're going to spend tens of millions of dollars on this project, it would be nice if we, the people, could actually USE the damn thing. But if you look at how they're describing it in the paper, etc, a lot of the facility will be KU's property. We *hope* or *assume* that KU will (in its benevolence) allow us to use it when they are not. Yeah, right. KU doesn't like us commoners getting our grubby little hands on their stuff. And while the CC might pitch a small fit, what are we gonna do? We’ve got no power over them, per the terms of this arrangement.

6) It would be ILLEGAL for Lawrence to get the facility, except for some financial legerdemain. I'm sure City Commissioners feel like they're running with the big dogs, but every poker game needs a sucker--we're it. One of the best signs of a swindle is when they sell you the same solution for every problem. It used to be all that we needed this big of a facility to attract some mythical out-of-town youth tournaments. But when Chad Lawhorn (great job, btw!) pressed the City on the math, they backed away from that angle. Funny how we, the citizens suddenly needed the exact same facility just for our use, isn't it?

7) If we do need a rec center in NW Lawrence, we've been going about it completely bassackward. I don't know if the right palms have been greased or if our City Commissioners are just caught up in short-sighted groupthink. But we're like the guy who walks onto a car lot to buy a Corolla and drives away in a Mercedes – don’t get talked into buying more than you can afford. Define your needs, then your budget, and ONLY THEN start looking for solutions. Instead, we've gotten our hearts set on one particular solution and tried to shoehorn it into different justifications. That's how you wind up broke - just ask my sister-in-law.

8) The biggest proof that this is just a bad idea is that no one wants to have it come up for public consideration. Lawrence voters are not averse to approving things: the T, the library, street repairs, fire trucks, etc. But somehow we don't need a vote on something that is TEN TIMES MORE EXPENSIVE? Some sales tax vote from two decades ago means that voters approved this facility? You should feel bad for saying something so disingenuous in public. There’s an election in April - if this project is such a good idea, put it on the ballot. If voters approve it, I will shut up. But if you’re scared to let it come to a vote -- what does that say about you, and the project?

December 8, 2012 at 12:53 p.m. ( | suggest removal )